So, what’s next and when do I start? Well, Dr. Biggs wanted me to meet with a chemo nurse that day and get my schedule figured out. But, we forgot about one thing – my egg harvesting plans. There’s a 50% chance I will go into early menopause with the chemo. Brian and I have decided to buy an insurance policy. We are harvesting my eggs and freezing embryos – just in case. And this process has to be done before chemo starts. Dr. Biggs called my reproductive doctor and before I had even left the oncology office, I had a message from the IVF coordinator (Dori) trying to get me scheduled! Wow, things are really moving fast.
Bri, my mom, and I went back down to the cafe at the Cancer Center to sit and collect our thoughts. I called the IVF coordinator back and just had to leave a message. We killed some time before Bri had to get back to work by heading over to the Pure Bread Deli – such an awesome lunch place. On the drive over, Dori called me back and she asked some general questions. She said that their office had an IVF meeting in the afternoon and she’d call me later. Surprisingly, the 3 of us were able to enjoy a nice lunch – tear free! I love how the sandwiches at that place are all named after dog breeds. I refrained from ordering the Beagle and instead went with a 1/2 of the Golden Retriever and 1/2 salad. My mom ate a French Poodle! Bri headed back to work and my mom and I headed next door to TJMaxx. She was trying on shoes and such, but I was just in no mood to shop and wanted to go home. I felt bad because my mom thought she was doing a good thing and was just trying to keep me busy/occupied.
Right when we got home, Dori called me back. She needed me to come in for blood work and a physical exam. I have an appointment at 10:00 AM on January 28 to get the IVF process started. After this initial appointment, the tentative time line goes something like this:
- February 11: Start some kinda meds (I forget what it is and I assume I’ll have more info on Friday)
- February 14 – 22: Start daily injections and monitoring to check my follicle growth
- February 23 – 25: Egg retrieval sometime between those 3 days. The retrieval process is a simple procedure. I think I’ll be in another one of those twilight sleeps.
- 1 week later: Chemo will start approximately 1 week later (so, I’m assuming on/around March 4).
Whoa, my calendar is absolutely crazy right now. In addition to all this, I’m still meeting with my psychologist every 2 weeks and I have an appointment with the chemo nurse on February 8th.
Aside from IVF – Bri and I have decided to look into an additional insurance policy. Even though freezing my embryos is a great option, the actual process is predicted to only have a 65% success rate with me. And each cycle is extremely expensive. My insurance will only cover part of it with a lifetime maximum allowance. In other words, it is likely I will only have one cycle and I have to hope that I fall into that 65% range. Additionally, we will have to wait until I finish my Tamoxifen regime. The gold standard is 5 years for Tamoxifen – which puts me at 36 years old before I can even start to think about using those frozen embryos. Some women choose to end Tamoxifen early (usually after 2 – 3 years) to start a family. But I’m not sure how I feel about that right now.
Brian and I will also be looking into adoption as a way to start a family earlier. There a few agencies that I have looked into, but I mostly like 2 – Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities. Mid – March both of those agencies are holding information meetings and our goal is to make it to one meeting. Unfortunately, both are a little farther away than we would have hoped with Bethany being about 1 hour and 45 minutes (for a weeknight meeting, I’m not sure we’d be able to swing it). I am nervous about this process and have to read more about it. My main concern is that they will not accept us because my health related issues. The costs are also a concern ($20 – $30k have been the estimates), but I am not letting it stand in our way. Luckily, Bri’s work does offer some assistance for adoptions.
Wow, my brain is spinning just putting all of this into writing. It does seem daunting, but I am just taking everything day by day. I will try to post some updates after my appointment on Friday!